Iron is an essential nutrient for most living organisms. Due to the low solubility of ferric iron at physiological pH, the transition from an anaerobic atmosphere to the actual oxidant environment caused a dramatical decrease of iron bioavailability. Therefore, most organisms had to adapt their lifestyle to survive under an iron-depleted environment. In cyanobacteria, the electron transport chains involved in photosynthesis and respiration, as well as the enzymes involved in nitrogen metabolism have a high content of iron. Hence, cyanobacterial iron requirements are much higher than those of heterotrophic organisms. In this chapter, we revise different strategies developed by this important group of microorganisms to cope with iron deficiency, as well as the regulatory networks involved in the homeostasis of this indispensable element.
Part of the book: Cyanobacteria